Summer and the Thanksgiving-through-New Year’s Day holidays are seasons of superheroes, action, adventure, sequels and over-the-top comedies. Fall typically is a more reflective time in the nation’s movie theaters.
While this fall brings action (“Getaway”), comedy (“Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa”), romantic comedy (“Austenland,” “Baggage Claim”), horror (a “Carrie” remake), sci-fi (“Riddick,” “Ender’s Game”) and a superhero (“Thor: The Dark World”) there’s also such serious drama as “12 Years a Slave.”
A pre-Civil War story, “12 Years a Slave” is the based-in-fact story of a free black resident of New York who is abducted and sold into slavery. Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as Solomon Northup and Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Fassbender co-star in this film shot in New Orleans’ French Quarter and Audubon Park and Vacherie’s St. Joseph and Felicity plantations.
Hollywood heavyweights Sandra Bullock and George Clooney co-star in another new drama, “Gravity.” Helmed by acclaimed director Alfonso Cuarón (“Children of Men”), the film’s storyline about a scientist and astronaut lost in space promises to be intense.
A new screen adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” by Julian Fellowes (“Downton Abbey”) stars Hailee Steinfeld, the young actress who made a great impression in 2010’s “True Grit.”
Tom Hanks gets serious in “Captain Phillips,” a real-life drama directed by Paul Greengrass (“The Bourne Ultimatum,” “United 93”) that reenacts the 2009 hijacking of the U.S. container ship Maersk Alabama by Somali pirates.
In the 1980s-set “Dallas Buyers Club” (another New Orleans-shot drama), Matthew McConaughey plays a Texas electrician who battles the medical establishment after he’s diagnosed as HIV-positive.
And Leonardo DiCaprio and director Martin Scorsese reunite — they previously worked together for “Shutter Island,” “The Aviator,” “The Departed” and “Gangs of New York” — for “The Wolf on Wall Street.”
Many of the films opening between Friday and Nov. 15 are listed below. Opening dates are subject to change. Smaller films typically have platform releases, opening in New York and Los Angeles before gradually arriving in smaller markets throughout the country.
ONE DIRECTION: THIS IS US: One Direction, the popular singing group consisting of four young Englishmen and an Irishman, gets 3D concert-documentary treatment in a film directed by Morgan Spurlock (“Super Size Me”). Simon Cowell, “The X-Factor” judge who put the original solo singers who are One Direction together, is featured along with the lads’ parents and thousands of their excited fans.
GETAWAY: Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez lead the cast of this thriller about a former racecar driver who’s desperately trying to save his kidnapped wife’s life.
THE GRANDMASTER: A film about martial-arts master Ip Man, trainer of American martial arts star Bruce Lee. The cast includes Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Ziyi Zhang and Jin Zhang.
POPULAIRE: In this French comedy set in 1958, Rose is an awful secretary but a great typist. Her boss resolves to turn her into the fastest girl in the world. Romain Duris, Déborah François and Bérénice Bejo co-star. Opens in limited release.
SALINGER: A documentary about the reclusive J.D. Salinger, author of “The Catcher in the Rye.” Features Philip Seymour Hoffman, Edward Norton and Judd Apatow. Opens in limited release.
RIDDICK: In the latest installment of the sci-fi action series that began with 2000’s “Pitch Black” and continued with 2004’s “The Chronicles of Riddick,” Riddick (Vin Diesel) is left for dead on a sun-scorched planet that only appears to be lifeless. Riddick must battle alien predators more lethal than any humans he’s ever encountered.
AUSTENLAND: Jane Hayes (Keri Russell), a seemingly normal young woman in her 30s, is obsessed with English writer Jane Austen. She spends her life savings on a trip to a British resort that caters to similarly Austen-crazed women. Opens Sept. 13 in New Orleans.
THE FAMILY: A Mafia boss snitches on the mob. Relocated to a small town in France by the Witness Protection Program, Fred Manzoni (Robert De Niro), his wife Maggie (Michelle Pfeiffer) and their children (Dianna Agron and John D’Leo), quickly return to their old Mafia ways. Tommy Lee Jones co-stars. Directed by Luc Besson.
INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2: The horror team of director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell reunite with the original “Insidious” cast, Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye and Ty Simpkins. The sequel follows members of the haunted Lambert family as they struggle to discover the source of their connection to the spirit world.
JAYNE MANSFIELD’S CAR: An Alabama man, circa 1969, whose wife left him and the couple’s children to marry an Englishman, learns that she has died and is being brought back to the U.S. for burial. He subsequently meets his late ex-wife’s British family. Billy Bob Thornton directs a cast including himself, Robert Duvall, John Hurt, Kevin Bacon and Louisiana native Katherine LaNasa.
BATTLE OF THE YEAR: A dance-crew tournament draw teams from throughout the world. The U.S. hasn’t won the contest in 15 years, but a Los Angeles hip-hop mogul is determined to put America back on top in this 3D dance movie.
ENOUGH SAID : The late James Gandolfini co-stars with Julia Louis Dreyfus in this romantic comedy. Catherine Keener co-stars. Opens in limited release.
HAUTE CUISINE: A story about how Danièle Delpeuch became private chef to French president François Mitterrand. Featuring Catherine Frot, Arthur Dupont and Jean d’Ormesson.
PRISONERS: Keller Dover is facing every parent’s worst nightmare. His 6-year-old daughter, Anna, is missing, along with her young friend, Joy. While the police pursue multiple leads, the desperate Dover take matters into his own hands. Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Melissa Leo, Paul Dano, Maria Bello, Viola Davis and Terrence Howard co-star.
BAGGAGE CLAIM: Flight attendant Montana gives herself a 30-day deadline to find Mr. Right. She uses airline friends and connections to arrange not-so-spontaneous encounters with candidates for the position. Paula Patton leads a big cast including Derek Luke, Jill Scott, Taye Diggs and Djimon Hounsou.
CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2: This 3D computer-animated comedy-adventure sequel follows the new exploits of inventor Flint Lockwood. Flint’s most famous invention, a machine that turns water into food, causes big problems when it creates food-animal hybrids, aka foodimals. Flint and his friends must save the world from hungry tacodiles, shrimpanzees, apple pie-thons and double bacon cheespiders.
DON JON: Jon Martello’s buddies call him Don Jon because he can “pull” a different woman every weekend. But even the greatest fling doesn’t compare to the pleasure Jon experiences watching pornography online. Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in this dark comedy that he also wrote and directed. Scarlett Johansson co-stars.
RUSH: Oscar-winning director Ron Howard (“A Beautiful Mind,” “Frost/Nixon”) and Oscar-nominated writer Peter Morgan (“Frost/Nixon,” “The Queen”) collaborate for this drama about the 1970s-era, Formula 1 racecar rivalry between James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth of “Thor” fame) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl from “Inglourious Basterds”).
GRAVITY: Sandra Bullock plays Dr. Ryan Stone, a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission. George Clooney co-stars as veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky. During a routine spacewalk, their shuttle is destroyed. Stone and Kowalsky are left tethered to nothing but each other as they spiral into space.
RUNNER RUNNER: A Princeton grad who believes he’s been swindled, travels to Costa Rica to confront an online gambling tycoon. Buying into the tycoon’s promise of immense wealth, the young man ends up trapped between his so-called benefactor and the FBI. The cast includes Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake and Gemma Arterton.
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS: Tom Hanks stars in this thriller about the 2009 hijacking of the U.S. container ship Maersk Alabama by Somali pirates. Paul Greengrass, director of “Green Zone,” “The Bourne Ultimatum” and “United 93,” stands at the movie’s helm.
MACHETE KILLS: The hard-to-kill Danny Trejo returns as ex-federal agent Machete. No less than the U.S. president recruits Machete for a mission that would be impossible for a normal man: take down a madman revolutionary who plans to spread war and anarchy. Robert Rodriguez directs an all-star cast including Michelle Rodriguez, Sofia Vergara, Amber Heard, Lady Gaga and Cuba Gooding Jr.
ROMEO AND JULIET: A new screen version of William Shakespeare’s tragic play, adapted for the screen by Julian Fellowes (“Downton Abbey”) and directed by Carlos Carlei (“The Flight of the Innocent”). The all-star cast includes 16-year-old Hailee Steinfeld (“True Grit”), Douglas Booth, Paul Giamatti and Stellan Skarsgard.
CARRIE: This second remake of the 1976 horror classic stars Chloë Grace Moretz as the shy, repressed girl who discovers her power. Julianne Moore co-stars as Carrie’s mom.
THE FIFTH ESTATE: Based on the story of WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Brühl). Hoping to expose high-level deception and corruption, Assange and Domscheit-Berg appoint themselves underground watchdogs of the privileged and powerful.
12 YEARS A SLAVE: Based on a true story, the pre-Civil War-set film tells of a free man of color from upstate New York who is abducted and sold into slavery. Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as Solomon Northup and Brad Pitt plays a Canadian abolitionist. Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Fassbender co-star. “Beasts of the Southern Wild” actors Quvenzhané Wallis and Dwight Henry also are in the cast. The Louisiana-shot film opens in Los Angeles and New York on Oct. 18. Louisiana play dates will be announced later.
THE COUNSELOR: A lawyer gets involved in drug trafficking and finds himself over his head. Brad Pitt, Goran Visnjic and Michael Fassbender star in this thriller directed by Ridley Scott and written by great American novelist Cormac McCarthy.
ESCAPE PLAN: The first pairing of action stars Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger in leading roles. Ray Breslin (Stallone), a man deceived and wrongly imprisoned, recruits fellow inmate Emil Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger) to devise a daring plan to escape from the most fortified prison in history. Jim Caviezel and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson co-star.
JACKASS PRESENTS: BAD GRANDPA: 86-year-old Irving Zisman is on a journey across America with the most unlikely companion, his 8-year-old grandson, Billy. “Jackass” character Irving Zisman (Johnny Knoxville) and Billy (Jackson Nicoll) take movie audiences along for a wild hidden-camera road trip.
ABOUT TIME: At 21, Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) discovers he can travel in time. Tim uses his gift the night after a disappointing New Year’s Eve party. Bill Nighy co-stars.
DALLAS BUYERS CLUB: Another made-in-New Orleans movie, “Dallas Buyers Club” is the story of Texas electrician Ron Woodroof and the battles he fought against the medical establishment and pharmaceutical companies after he was diagnosed as HIV-positive in 1986. Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner and Jared Leto co-star.
FREE BIRDS: Jimmy Hayward (“Horton Hears a Who!”) directs this buddy-comedy adventure about two turkeys who team up to travel back in time. The birds hope to change history by preventing their species from becoming Thanksgiving’s traditional feast.
LAST VEGAS: Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline play best friends from childhood who meet in Las Vegas for the ultimate, late-in-life bachelor party.
ENDER’S GAME: If not for the heroics of International Fleet Commander Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley), all would have been lost when a hostile alien race called the Formics attacked Earth. In preparation for the next attack, Col. Hyrum Graff (Harrison Ford) and the International Military are training the best young minds in hopes of finding the future Mazer. Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin and Viola Davis co-star.
THOR: THE DARK WORLD: The movie continues the story of Thor, the Mighty Avenger. Thor battles to save Earth and the Nine Realms from an ancient enemy that existed even before the universe. Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård and Idris Elba co-star.
THE BEST MAN HOLIDAY: When college friends reunite over the Christmas holidays, they discover just how easy it is for long-forgotten rivalries and romances to reignite. Malcolm D. Lee returns to write and direct this sequel to his directorial debut. Taye Diggs, Nia Long, Morris Chestnut, Harold Perrineau and Terrence Howard co-star.
THE BOOK THIEF: During World War II, a girl named Liesel finds solace in stealing books and sharing them with others. Meanwhile, her parents are hiding a Jewish refuge in their home. The cast includes Sophie Nélisse, Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson.
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET: Leonardo DiCaprio stars in a story inspired by Jordan Belfort, a wall street tycoon who went from wealthy stockbroker to criminal. Martin Scorsese directs and P.J. Byrne, Jon Favreau co-star.
Also opening this fall
DIANA: A look behind the scenes at the final two years of the life of Diana, Princess of Wales. Naomi Watts and Naveen Andrews (“Lost,” “The English Patient”) lead the cast.
WE ARE WHAT WE ARE: The Parkers, a seemingly wholesome, loving family, are not what they seem. The family’s secrets unravel when its small town floods. Bill Sage (“Boardwalk Empire”) plays the story’s stern patriarch and Ambyr Childers and Julia Garner co-star as his daughters.